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Traffic Safety: Summary & Data Highlights

Males age 15 to 24 were about 5 times more likely than females of the same age to die from injuries suffered during motor vehicle accidents.

Motor vehicle collisions often lead to property damage and personal injury, and sometimes cause death. Victims sometimes include bicyclists and pedestrians. Injuries and deaths from collisions have declined in recent years, in part due to education, mandated use of seat belts, tough impaired-driving laws, and safety engineering.

For King County residents (even if the vehicle crash occurred outside King County) …

  • Averaging data from 2006 through 2010, King County males were almost 3 times more likely than females to die of motor-vehicle-related injuries. Among 15-24-year-old county residents, males were almost 5 times more likely than females to die of collision-related injuries.
  • From 2001 to 2010, the rate of King County resident deaths due to motor vehicle injuries declined.  Averaging data for 2008-2010, 104 resident deaths per year were attributed to traffic collisions.
  • From 2001 to 2010, hospitalizations of King County residents due to motor vehicle injuries declined in the county overall and in all regions except North Region.
  • Residents of South Region and Seattle had the highest rates of hospitalization from motor vehicle injuries, 58.1 and 57.8 per 100,000 residents, respectively.  East Region’s hospitalization rate, at 32.7 per 100,000, was the lowest among all regions.

For vehicle crashes occurring in King County (regardless of victims’ residence) …

  • Comparing 2008-2010 to 2005-2007, total collision-related deaths that occurred in King County declined by 27%. This includes …          
    • … 51.6% decrease in deaths among unrestrained vehicle occupants.
    • … 31.4% decrease in deaths involving speeding.
    • … 19% decrease in deaths involving impaired drivers.
  • 38% of fatal traffic crashes involved a driver age 16-25.
  • 49% of traffic deaths involved an impaired driver.
    • Among pedestrian motor-vehicle-related fatalities, 32% of pedestrians had blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater.
    • Among bicyclist motor-vehicle-related fatalities, 11% of bicyclists had BAC of .08 or greater.
  • On average, 19 pedestrians and 3 bicyclists died per year in traffic crashes.

Rates of collision-related fatalities + injuries varied dramatically across King County cities. Averaging data from 2009 through 2011(regardless of the victims’ residence) …

  • Cities with the highest rates of traffic-related fatal and non-fatal injuries were Tukwila, SeaTac, Kent, Renton, Seattle, and Auburn.
  • The lowest fatality + injury rates were in Sammamish, Kenmore, Maple Valley, Des Moines, and Mercer Island.
  • Kenmore and Redmond had relatively low ratios of injuries/fatalities to collisions (0.25 and 0.35, respectively).